“Disco nowadays means so many different things to different people—to one it’s ‘YMCA’ by the Village People, symbolized by the embarrassing uncle trying to do the moves at a wedding, to another it’s the orchestral splendour of MFSB in Sigma Sound, Philadelphia, whilst yet another, as you say, equates it to the ‘Theme From Miami Vice.’ But stuck with it we are. It’s weird how we keep ending up with genre names that have been previously used, R&B and electro being the other examples. It would have been nice if the current scene could have been named with a bit more originality, but such is life.”
Remixer, producer, promoter, and D.J. Jacques Renault is riding the crest of Brooklyn's dance-music wave
That time has gone to good use these past few years. Renault’s C.V. includes work with fellow Brooklyn D.J. Marcos Cabral as Runaway, a bunch of re-edits he’s made for super-limited-edition vinyl pressings (usually around 100 copies, never more than 300), and a handful of terrific remixes. His 2010 remix of fellow Brooklynites Midnight Magic’s “Beam Me Up” evokes every era of New York’s post-disco diaspora while sounding utterly of-this-moment.
Thursday's show served as both homecoming and celebration for Handclap—their second album, Form and Control, was released this week. The group's newest recruit, yet a crucial element in their sound, Marin got her start in Portuguese-language bands after falling in love with the music of Brazil, and joined Handclap in the space between their first and second albums. “I was like, ‘Are you sure you guys want me to sing?’” Marin told me once we finally made it outside, as if she couldn’t possibly understand what a band would want with a captivating lead singer.
Big-band disco acts Escort, Midnight Magic channel 'off-kilter, New York' retro vibe, when they can afford to
The David Byrne story goes like this: Balis and Cho were working on something recently and discussing Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club in relation to it. Then they went to dinner at a nearby restaurant, where they spotted Byrne with Cindy Sherman.
“We go back to the studio to get the C.D., go up to David Byrne, and we interrupt him,” said Cho. “He’s talking to the guy who played the chef on'The Sopranos.'”
“He looked really annoyed that the chef from 'The Sopranos' was talking to him,” said Balis. “He’s like, ‘I want to talk to my girlfriend-slash-life partner.’”
Balis and Cho handed Byrne the C.D., explaining who they were. “We give him the spiel,” said Balis. “‘We’re huge fans. We’d love you to listen to this. We’re a 17-piece band.’ And he says, ‘A 17-piece band? How do you make any money?’” They laughed again. “The answer is, of course, you don’t.”